2022 Fantasy Football Draft Prep: Cam Akers injury reveals preseason week 3’s biggest losers

With essentially two weeks left until the first week of the NFL season, most injuries aren’t a major concern at this point. Most players struggling with nagging injuries should have plenty of time to get healthy for Week 1 and it’s no big deal to miss the final week of preseason with a minor issue.

But I’m starting to worry about Cam Akers. Akers has been out for several weeks with an unspecified soft-tissue injury along with fellow backfielder Darrell Henderson, and while Rams head coach Sean McVay told reporters Henderson will be able to train this week, he couldn’t say the same for Akers after Saturday’s loss to the Bengals in the preseason final. And while most reports so far suggest the injury isn’t a serious concern, McVay says Akers is still not in full swing.

“Darrell will definitely (practice)” McVay to reporters. “Darrell was able to run at full speed today. We could train on the grass. Cam hasn’t quite been able to do that yet, but I’m really looking forward to having Darrell out there with us again.”

Akers was returning from a torn Achilles tendon late last season but has struggled to make a big impression in the playoffs, dashing for 172 yards on 67 carries as he led back through the team’s Super Bowl run. A full off-season break from work should get him closer to full speed, but questions remained given how tough Achilles injuries tend to come back. I had categorized Akers as a mid-range RB2 coming into preseason, but the fact that he’s struggling with another injury and isn’t yet eligible to play means I’ll have to demote him to outside the top 20. Not just because he might not be ready for Week 1 – I’m still betting he will be by this point – but because it presents another potential landmine he needs to avoid in order to avoid re-injury.

Akers goes off the board in the fourth round of most drafts, but I wouldn’t touch him until the fifth or even sixth round. There are advantages here, but there were also pre-injury reports that he was splitting first-team replays with Henderson, so he may not even have the three-losing role we’re hoping for if he’s healthy.

We’ll want to see some positive reports from Akers over the next few weeks as prep shifts to Week 1, but you’ll also need to get Henderson up your ranks at this point. He’s someone who should be drafted around the eighth or ninth round, both as a potential week one starter if Akers’ slow recovery continues, and as a bench option with upside potential beyond that.

Here are a few more players whose value took a hit this weekend.

insulting the patriots

There have been strange oscillations around the Patriots’ offense since minicamps, when Bill Belichick refused to name an offensive coordinator following the departure of Josh McDaniels. It was clear in training camp that Matt Patricia and Joe Judge would be in charge of offense, and this isn’t a duo that inspires much personal confidence — the fact that Patricia both coaches the offensive line and seemingly directs play doesn’t help. And to see Mac Jones visibly frustrated while playing 9 for 13 for 71 yards and a pretty outrageously bad pick against a Raiders team that was resting most of its starters definitely didn’t help. History tells us not to bet against Bill Belichick, but the steady drumbeat outside of camp shows that offense was a problem and we haven’t seen much of them in the exhibition games to refute that. I am anxious.

Clarity in the Chargers backfield

Given past usage in camp and preseason, I’d pretty much moved Joshua Kelley to the Chargers’ RB No. 2 spot behind Austin Ekeler. However, in Week 3, Larry Rountree got the start and played more snaps with the “first team” offense (led by Chase Daniel), with Kelly acting more as a clear support. That makes it a lot harder to know who Ekeler’s backup is, and I suppose if something happened to Ekeler it would probably be a pretty chaotic situation – rookie Isaiah Spiller also pops up as a possible option, although he’s likely a clear RB4 on the is depth chart now. Given the lack of clarity, I think Spiller might be the best bet for a late-round flyer on this offense in hopes he can emerge as the clear No. 2, but it’s best to avoid.

Garret Wilson

The Jets have invested quite a bit in Wilson, the No. 10 draft pick this year, but it looks like they’re not about to force him into the starting lineup just yet. While all reports outside of camp were pretty positive, Wilson was pretty much used as a backup in Sunday’s pre-season final, playing only with Corey Davis in the starting XI came from the field, per Pro Football Focus. Elijah Moore and Braxton Berrios look ahead of him on the depth chart and that seems to have been a consistent trait on offense so far. That doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t draft Wilson in re-draft formats, but understand that you have to be patient in the beginning. Don’t panic if it doesn’t play a big role in week 1, you are charting it for a long-term uptrend.


Cook had the start on Friday, but that was with the second-team offensive – and it was inactive with Zack Moss. Does that mean Cook is No. 3 running back? Potentially, although it’s still possible this is a scenario where Cook is more of a third-down back and Moss is the actual backup for Singletary. Anyhow, chatter outside of camp suggests all three should be active on matchdays and with Singletary in a pretty clear lead it will be difficult for Cook to make much of an impact early on. His passing skills in particular could make him stand out in this backfield, but he’s another guy you’ll probably have to be patient with given his likely preseason role.

Mike Gesicki

In fact, in three drives with Tagovailoa, Gesicki was second among Dolphins tight ends in snaps. He ran most of the distances but this was a three-man rotation with Durham Smythe and Cethan Carter. Gesicki has spoken this preseason of basically having to learn a new position as the Dolphins ask him to be more of a traditional tight end after being used almost exclusively as a receiver last season, and we’ve seen that in games ; He has lined up as an inline tight end 24 times compared to 14 in the slot, per PFF after playing 85% of his snaps in either the slot or away from last season. Gesicki will have growing pains here, and he may not get enough opportunities to be much more than a touchdown-or-bust TE.

Noah Fant

During the Seahawks’ first five drives, no tight end ran to more than 50% of the dropbacks as Fant continues to rotate with Will Dissly and Colby Parkinson. That’s been a trend throughout preseason, and it makes it terribly difficult to draft Fant himself as a late riser. I still think he has very enticing abilities for fantasy, but the role just doesn’t look like it’s going to be a fairly quiet (not to mention bad) passing attack in any form. In your Standard 12-team non-TE Premium league, Fant is probably best for waivers at this point.

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